Thursday, August 30, 2012

Choosing the Best Interior Paint Finish for a Job: Building Moxie

Choosing the Best Interior Paint Finish for a Job :: Jennifer D’Angelo

The last time you painted a room, I can pretty much guarantee that you spent a lot of time and energy trying to decide on the color.Should it be something subtle like a tan or an off-white? Or more dynamic like red, green, or purple? And then … after you pick the basic color, which one of the 30 or so different shades fits best with what you want.
Now think about the paint finish. I’m betting that decision was made on the fly. Either you didn’t think about it at all, or your decision was made based on the offhand advice of the clerk at wherever you purchased your paint.

Paint Sheen Gray Card Life of an Architect

But your choice of finishes (aka sheen) is incredibly important. It will determine things like whether the color stands out or fades into the background, and if you have to repaint every time it gets too dirty and/or even if you can wash it.
Learning a little bit about each of the different kinds of paint finishes can help you make an informed decision when buying paint and can even help you avoid more work down the line.

-Matte or Flat – Got a few small cracks, bumps, or other unsightly features on your walls? Well, matte or flat might be the way to go. Because it doesn’t reflect light like glossier paints, it’s easier to hide imperfections. What’s the negative? It’s not known for washability. If you get scratches or other marks on your walls, you might be forced to cover them with more paint.
-Eggshell - A very slight step from matte finish, in both shine and washability, this finish tends to hold up better than matte but not hide imperfections as well. People sometimes use it when they want to give their room or furniture a more rustic quality. The name? Well, that comes from the fact that it has the textural appearance of an egg, of course.
-Satin – If eggshell doesn’t quite hold up as well as you’d like, the next step up in shine is a satin finish. Got a room that sees a lot of traffic and wear and tear like, say, your kid’s bedroom? The velvety smooth look of a satin finish can be cleaned repeatedly without harming the paint, but it’s not as shiny and reflective as other glossier paints.
-Semi-Gloss – Generally speaking, semi-gloss is the vanilla of finishes – and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Typically recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, doors, and trim, it gives off a great shine without overdoing it. Semi-gloss will also hold up to moisture (hence its use in the kitchen and bathroom) and can be easily wiped clean. The only thing you need to worry about is making sure the areas you’re going to use it on are smooth and well-prepared.  If you leave imperfections, the shine of semi-gloss will only highlight them.
-Read More On BuildingMoxie! Tips For Choosing The Best Paint Finish


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kitchen Cabinet Organization Tips

 So now you finally have the remodeled kitchen you've been dreaming of and it's time to move all your stuff back in. Before you rush to get it all put away, take some time to make an organization plan. You want to store your items based on use; and if you've worked with a professional design/build firm you have probably already talked with them about this and have customized storage solutions built into your new kitchen.
  Here are some additional tips & tricks to help organize your kitchen, new or old!

  • Store frequently-used objects in easy-to-reach locations. Notice what you use most often. Figure out where you will use them most. Infrequently used items, like the roasting pan that you only haul out during the holidays, can go on high shelves or in the back of cabinets. They can even be stored outside the kitchen in the garage, attic, basement, guest room closet, or a box under a bed.

    Make sure every item in your kitchen has earned its right to take up your valuable space! Remember: if you use it infrequently enough, it should go out altogether. Just because it is large or expensive, it doesn't mean you should keep it. If you made pasta twice ten years ago, please pitch the pasta machine. (
Top Cabinets
  • Food: Group food including spices, bottles and food storage containers in the cabinets just above your kitchen work station (the counter space you use to chop, need and mix). This way they can be easily accessed while prepping, chopping and mixing.
  • Glasses and Dishes: Group these directly over either your dish washer or the drying rack for easy clean up.
  • Cookbooks, Kitchen Towels, Tupperware: These items can go in your non-prime real estate areas because you won't be reaching for them as often at food and dishes.
Bottom Cabinets
  • Appliances: Stored in the bottom cabinets just below your main work area for easy access during food prep. If you use an appliance daily, consider moving it to your counter top. 
  • Pots, Pans and Baking Sheets: Stored in the bottom cabinet, pans on their side to maximize space and pots nesting together. Lids should also be stored vertically. I like to rest mine in a larger, square Tupperware container.
  • Mixing Bowls, Cutting Boards and Salad Spinners: As close to the drying rack or dishwasher as possible for easy clean up.
  • Cleaning Supplies: In the bottom cabinet under the sink. Under the sink tends to be such an awkward space, it makes most sense to store bottles and spray in this tight spot.
List Compiled By Elizabeth Larkin

   Another big clutter culprit? The pantry! When re-stocking your items, ask yourself these questions about each item before you put it back in your pantry:
  • Has this expired? If yes, throw it out.
  • Do I use this? If no, throw it out.
  • Do I like this? If no, throw it out.
  Group items together by type:
  • Cans of beans and soups
  • Bags of snack foods
  • Bottles of oils and vinegar
  • Jars of spices
  • Boxes of grains (rice, cereal)
  Finally, if you don't already have custom storage in your cabinets or pantry, here are some fantastic storage solutions you can find in stores and online that will vastly improve the use of your pantry and your kitchen
List Compiled By Elizabeth Larkin

1. Extra Deep Wide Sliding Cabinet Organizer, $49.99
Perhaps the best investment you can make for your pantry is slide out (or "roll out" drawers). I like this extra deep model because it will fix stacks of mixing bowls, small appliances and even large ones like mixers and food processors, making them all much easier to retrieve.
2. OXO POP Storage Container -1.5 Qt Capacity, , $7.99-$15.99
These containers are BPA-free, stackable, dishwasher safe, and square, making them very space-conscious. I use these in my own pantry and highly, highly recommend them. They make a wonderful gift for a bridal registry or housewarming as well.
3. iTouchless Bag Re-Sealer, $17.59
I rolled my eyes at this one until I thought of all the snack foods that go stale due to the bag not being sealed properly.
4. 5 Tier Steel Storage Tower in White, $179.00 + free shipping
For the chef who just doesn't have enough space, I love the industrial look of this kitchen shelving, which can easily be moved around your space to serve a variety of purposes: to store dishes, appliances, cookbooks, recipes, food canisters and more.
5. Bag-In Cereal and Snack Dispenser, $12.99 - set of two
I have to admit, I don't keep too much cereal around the house. As a carb addict, there's a very strong possibility I'd eat half the box in one sitting. However, these cereal boxes are a wonderful way to keep cereal fresh, and once again, the square shape makes these boxes very space-friendly. I will use these for grains like brown rice and quinoa, flour and other baking supplies, and small snacks like pretzels and nuts.
6. Spice Rack Set - 12 Bottles with Wall Rack, $26.00
Move your spices out of valuable shelf space and onto the inside of your pantry door with this spice rack.
7. Click Clack Cubes, $23.99 - set of three
Normally, I'm opposed to buy sets but these three right-sized cubes fit my top three food storage requirements: they clear so you can see what you're storing, they are squared-shaped which makes them more space-saving and they are budget-friendly.
Before you purchase any storage solutions, complete the following:
  • Triple measure the space.
  • Record the measurements as they are taken--people always think they will remember, but once you start looking at items you may confuse the sizes. Don't be a hero, record it on the spot.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Reasons to Remodel Instead of Moving

Written by

In the midst of a fertile housing market for buyers, it’s easy for someone to think that the best way to appease their dissatisfaction with their current housing situation is to just purchase a new home. However, moving may not actually be the best remedy for your house unhappiness.
There are a number of reasons why remodeling might actually be the solution for you, and according to the National Association of Home Builders: remodeling is in. The national remodeling sentiment was reported at its highest level in five years. So, let’s answer the age old question: Why remodel?
Above all else, cost is an overwhelming factor in deciding whether or not to move. Before picking up your local house listings, consider the real costs of moving. There are the obvious and large expenses like real estate commissions, down payments, escrow, finance & closing charges and new house payments. But the smaller costs – such as hotels, a rental truck, movers, packing boxes and utility set up fees – also add up. Remodeling can be done for a fraction of the price of a new home and can add instant equity to your existing investment.
Beyond the financial costs, moving can also take an emotional toll on a family and add unnecessary stress to a positive dynamic. Packing is stressful, especially for a family, because there will be something you need that gets packed away before you need it. Fortunately, remodeling generally only puts the areas you want renovated out of commission for a small time frame. Your items can just be moved to another room within the same house.
Moreover, moving stands to sever the relationships you’ve built with neighbors and local friends, not to mention uprooting your children from their school friends. Is your location ideal for your commute to work or school? Moving can complicate a stable routine.
Ultimately, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to move. Take into consideration a holistic picture of how the move will affect your life, and ask yourself (and if applicable, your spouse), “Why am I moving?” If your answer to this is something like, “I hate my kitchen,” you should seriously consider a remodel, instead. It will help you keep your sanity and a little cash in your bank account.

Statewide Remodeling is one of our "Tweople" we love to follow. They are Texas' most recommeded remodeler. If you live in Texas, please visit their website at - and even if you're not a Texan, you'll find some great remodeling info & resources on their site!
See a few of AK's most popular remodeling resources here:  Atlanta Remodeling FYI

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Phased Remodeling

(This is a repost of an article we posted in August of 2009! Amazing how the trend continues...)


If it sounds like a bad thing – it’s not. Serial remodels, or phased remodeling projects, can go over several months and even years. For example, homeowners might opt to start slow with a remodel to a powder room or closet and then tackle a larger project, such as the kitchen, master bath or home addition.

According the the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, residential remodels are no longer those once-in-a-lifetime projects that keep homeowners dreaming years on end before they ever pick up a hammer. Instead, many homeowners opt to do a series of remodels as their schedules, budgets and lifestyles evolve over time!

Qualified Remodeler’s business website says that these phased remodeling projects are part of a larger trend in American consciousness, which Trendwatching calls “Foreverism.” It speaks to people’s desire to continue conversations, relationships and projects over time. Technology is driving people’s ability to find, follow, interact and collaborate forever with anyone and anything, and home improvement is just one of the areas benefiting from the trend.
AK has been cultivating relationships in our industry and with our clients for years. The care we take to listen and understand our client’s final vision for their new space, our ability to move forward in a timely manner, and our use of only the finest products and materials guarantees impeccable quality. That is why even before serial remodeling even became a term, our clients have been coming back to us for project after project. Some big, some small; but each one completed by a trusted friend. AK.

According to Qualified Remodeler, phasing a remodeling project has a number of benefits, besides cultivating contractor/client relationships. For homeowners who can’t fund the entire project upfront, breaking elements of a major home remodel into stages can help extend costs over time. Embarking on a series of smaller projects also keeps homeowners less stressed. We know it’s not always fun to see smiling AK faces on your doorstep at 8am…everyday…but the end results make it worth it! They’ll bring a smile to your face, too!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Aging In Place: The AJC Reports On Homes Fitted To Meet Demands

For the AJC 

No one wants to think about getting old and it may seem peculiar to have those thoughts while in the throes of buying or building a new home. Not being able to charge up the steps, climb into the spa tub or stand at the bathroom sink aren't on the top of most buyers' concerns.  
But Mary Lee Quinn thinks about these problems every day. The founder of the Atlanta chapter of the National Aging in Place Council, Quinn is a veteran of the assisted living business where she learned that baby boomers, in particular, do not relish the thought of moving to care communities.
"So the idea of aging in place has become a very big deal," said Quinn. "People are more interested in having their home equipped with an accessible design so they can stay in one place. Especially with the economy the way it is, it's becoming a bigger movement."
In the metro area, there are numerous builders and remodelers who specialize in creating or retrofitting houses to meet the needs of aging owners. One of them is Kelly Dempsey, the vice president of sales and marketing for Jim Chapman Communities, a company that specializes in homes for adults 55 and older.
"We actually call it forward thinking," said Dempsey. "We think what it would be like for our parents or grandparents to live in this house and what difficulties they may have." 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Kitchen Sink

Copper Farmhouse Sink By AK
  We're not sure when it happened, when "the kitchen sink" became synonymous with a full arsenal or the tipping point of having it all. But we all hear and understand without question phrases like "They hit everything we threw at them, including the kitchen sink" or "It's a very large number. It almost feels like the entire kitchen sink went into this restructuring program."   Isn't it funny how such an integral item in all our lives can start to take on such a larger meaning? 
   We deal with kitchen sinks in the more traditional sense: the actual sink. While it's colloquial meaning and use demonstrates its importance to the family and society, we have to think daily of it's literal importance in the kitchen of it's owner! There are many kinds of kitchen sinks with undermount stainless steel sinks still holding on to their top ranking. Farmhouse sinks are also popular choices for the kitchen with ceramic and copper being two of the best material choices. 
   Trough sinks and seamless sinks are up-and-comers which we haven't seen in too many residential remodels around Atlanta yet. With so many options for sinks, single bowls to multiple bowls of different sizes, shapes and depths, when you're shopping for a sink, or talking to your remodeler, you'll need to consider the size of the room and how you'll use the sink. Large multibasin models, which are popular right now, will overpower a small kitchen.
  The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) suggests a standard 22X24-in. single-bowl model for kitchens less than 150 sq. ft. (the bowl itself measures about 16 X 21"). For larger kitchens, you can consider the added convenience of double and triple bowls that allow you to stack the dishes in one bowl while you rinse off vegetables in the other. 
    If you don't have a specific sink in mind when you're starting a kitchen remodel, ask your professional remodeler to make a recommendation. When AK includes a kitchen sink in an estimate, we have taken the time to ask the client how they use their kitchen: from shopping, to cooking to eating and more, we need to know about the family that uses the space so we can make all our product and material recommendations accordingly. In our link of work, including everything but the kitchen sink, just wouldn't cut it!